Visiting Artists

Musical theatre guest artist.

A fresh perspective is vital to a young artist. That’s why it’s essential for visiting artists and educators and artists-in-residence to share their unique artistic insights and new points of view with Interlochen’s students and communities. Alongside our world-class faculty and staff, visiting artists are partners in making the arts education at Interlochen second to none.

Flute Master Class at Interlochen Arts Academy

Every year, more than 150 visiting artists and educators bring illumination to our young artists in all disciplines and spark inspiration in the classroom, on the stage, and through individual exploration. Students benefit from the exceptional growth that immersion with some of the world’s best creators can provide. Masterclasses, presentations, and other close interactions with established artists complement and enhance our in-house curricula. They also offer a vital connection to the professional world to which our students aspire.

Interlochen continues to push me to be a better person, artist, and steward everyday. I am the person I am today because of my instructors, classmates, and visiting writers like Ross Gay, who all make me appreciate the joy in this life I have. They will continue to motivate me to become who I’m meant to be, and I am grateful. Thank you so much for your generosity making this experience possible for me!

Julia J.

A masterclass with Dr. Winston Choi was one of the most insightful and eye-opening lessons I've ever had. Dr. Choi went into so much intricate detail about every single note in the music that I could not help but be in awe for his knowledge and passion, which have sparked my love for the arts even more.

Michael O.

Moreover, visiting performers, educators, and speakers delight our northern Michigan communities and often provide jumping-off points for important conversations — including on topics relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Recent visiting artists and ensembles at Interlochen Center for the Arts have included, by division:

  • Music: award-winning composer Dr. Bill Banfield; pianist and motivational speaker Nicholas McCarthy; and Grammy Award-nominated jazz pianist, R&B singer, and composer Patrice Rushen
  • Creative Writing: Ross Gay, New York Times best-selling author; Deb JJ Lee, whose graphic novel In Limbo was the selected community read for the 2023–24 academic year; and Karen Russell, whose 2011 debut novel Swamplandia! was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
  • Visual Art: artists and art-accessibility experts Elaine Heumann Gurian and James Volkert
  • Film & New Media: Julia Pott, a Cartoon Network animator and the creator of Summer Camp Island
  • Theatre: Detroit-based theatre artist and University of Michigan playwriting instructor Emilio Rodriguez
  • Dance: Dancer and dance educator, choreographer, and actress Shura Baryshnikov
  • Interdisciplinary Arts: New York City-based interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, director, and filmmaker Michael Spencer Phillips and traveling art and variety show troupe Whoop Dee Doo

Philanthropic support is crucial for continuing these efforts. Your generosity can help Interlochen sustain and expand the number and diversity of these visiting artists and their impact on our community. Endowed support extends that impact for generations to come, ensuring our students will always benefit from the fresh perspectives vital to their growth as artists.

For more information, please contact Philanthropy staff at 231-276-7623 or